The Black Keys Touring With Cage, Bugg And Vincent

by Noiz 19. August 2014 19:33

The Black Keys Touring With Cage, Bugg And Vincent

It begins Sept. 5 in Columbus, Ohio and ends Dec. 21 in Kansas City, Missouri.

I'm of course talking about the North American leg of The Black Keys’ “Turn Blue World Tour.”  The indie rock duo is hitting the highway to promote their eighth studio affair, Turn Blue.  Their oeuvre hit the streets in May and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.  It was produced by the band and Danger Mouse (who also produced El Camino).

Turn Blue Track Listing
1. "Weight of Love"
2. "In Time"       
3. "Turn Blue"*                
4. "Fever"*        
5. "Year in Review"        
6. "Bullet in the Brain"*               
7. "It's Up to You Now"                 
8. "Waiting on Words" 
9. "10 Lovers"   
10."In Our Prime"           
11."Gotta Get Away"* 
*Released as singles

Highlights of the “Turn Blue World Tour” include a Sept. 20 The Black Keys concert in Brooklyn, a Nov. 6 The Black Keys performance in Inglewood (at the Forum), and a Dec. 15 The Black Keys show in Sunrise, Florida. 

The last big excursion Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney embarked on was their “El Camino Tour.”  That adventure began in January of 2012 and ended in July of 2013.  It was The Black Keys’ first extended outing as a headliner.  They tapped several great acts to open including Arctic Monkeys, The Flaming Lips, and Tegan & Sara.  The tour grossed more than $12 million.

Earlier in the year, The Black Keys entertained fans at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  Then, from late June to early July, they played 15 Black Keys concerts all over Europe.

One of rock’s best twosomes are bringing along a threesome of great opening acts.  From Sept. 5 to Sept. 27, Cage the Elephant will warm up audiences.  From Oct. 24 to Nov. 16, the position is filled by Jake Bugg.  Then on Dec. 4, Bugg passes the baton to St. Vincent.  It’s her job until the end of the tour.

Cage The Elephant
Cage The Elephant is an experienced supporting act.  Before being tapped by The Black Keys, CTE opened for Stone Temple Pilots, Silversun Pickups, and Manchester Orchestra.  They’ve also appeared at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and The Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival.  Cage The Elephant hails from Bowling Green, Kentucky.  They’re known for their single “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and their energetic live shows.

Jake Bugg
A huge moment in the musical life of Jake Bugg came when he heard Don McLean’s “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) on The Simpsons.  That’s not exactly The Beatles on Ed Sullivan or Michael Jackson on the American Music Awards, but it works.  Bugg was born on Feb. 28, 1994 in Nottingham, England to musical parents.  The singer-songwriter released his first, self-titled album in 2012.  His sophomore effort, Shangri La, dropped the following year.  Bugg was introduced to American audiences thanks to performances on American Idol, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Conan.  In December of 2013, Bugg sang at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo.

St. Vincent
St. Vincent is the stage name for singer and musician Annie Clark.  She took her nom de plume from the hospital Dylan Thomas died in; it’s also the middle name of her great-grandmother.  Before releasing albums on her own she was a member of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens’ touring band.  In 2012, she made an album with David Byrne called Love This Giant. Like Cage The Elephant, St. Vincent has toured with a lot of great artists including Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie, and Grizzly Bear.  When asked if she was gay or straight, St. Vincent responded by saying that she believes in “sexual fluidity.”

Lara Stone
The Black Keys have been making headlines recently thanks to their new music video.  Theo Wenner, son of Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Jann Wenner, directed the seven-minute cinematic piece that goes with the song “Weight of Love.”

The video has been attracting attention because (it’s very long and) it stars supermodel Lara Stone.  Besides being on Forbes’ list of the World’s Top Earning Models, she’s also married to David Walliams, one half of the legendary comedy duo Little Britain.

All-Female Cult
In the video, Auerbach and Carney play televangelists while Stone plays the leader of an all-female cult.  And yes, this female cult doesn’t wear a lot of clothes.  While you see more risqué stuff on cable television the video isn’t safe for work. 

My favorite part of the movie is when the female cultists do jumping-jacks.  I say this not because it’s sexy and/or tantalizing.  I say this because it was quite funny.  The video has a very serious tone but supermodels doing jumping jacks are anything but staid.

As for the cult angle, that’s pretty tame too.  There’s no goat sacrifice or blood-letting.  In the end, all that happens is the women form a circle and hold hands.

The “Weight of Love” stars scantily-clad models but their music video to “Fever” could pick up some hardware.  Also directed by Wenner, the video has been nominated for “Best Rock Video” at the 31st annual MTV Video Music Award.  We’ll find out if The Black Keys are winners on Aug. 24.

NBA 2K15
There’s another medium by which you can enjoy The Black Keys.  Okay, it’s just one song, but it counts.  The Black Keys song “Everlasting Light” has been picked for the NBA 2K15 soundtrack.  The music for this highly anticipated game was compiled by Pharrell Williams.  The Akron, Ohio outfit joins the likes of Depeche Mode, No Doubt, Public Enemy, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  The game will hit streets on Oct. 7.

Who Are The Black Keys?
The Black Keys were formed in 2001 although guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney met each other while in elementary school.  The band issued their first album in 2002 but didn’t receive national recognition until 2008 when they released Attack & Release.  The opus debuted at number 14 on the Billboard 200.  They followed that up with Brothers in 2010 and El Camino in 2011.  The albums peaked at number three and number two on the Billboard 200 (respectively).  Both have earned platinum certifications and produced a number of hit singles. 

Besides being one of the most successful and critically acclaimed alternative rock bands of their generation, The Black Keys are also one of the most decorated.  They’ve won seven Grammy Awards and were nominated for Record and Album of the Year in 2013.

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What You Need To Know About The 2014 Oddball Comedy And Curiosity Festival

by Noiz 18. August 2014 18:36

What You Need To Know About The 2014 Oddball Comedy And Curiosity Festival

The 2014 Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival will keep fans in stitches through Sept. 21.  On that day, the traveling comics will tickle funny bones in Austin, Texas.  This is the second time in as many years that Live Nation and the Web site Funny or Die has launched this cavalcade of roving hilarity.

Yet, in many ways this is the first year that the tour has really been what organizers have envisioned: a comedy version of an itinerant rock festival.

In 2013, the Oddball Comedy Festival was more of a headlining show.  Many fans arrived late and only cared about seeing Dave Chappelle.  While the comic genius had done several events since quitting his über-popular show in 2005, the 2013 Oddball Festival was by far his biggest gig. 

While I’m a much bigger fan of last year’s co-headliner, Flight of the Conchords, even I admit that Chappelle’s star shines brighter—he might be comedy’s number one talent.  By tapping his services, organizers didn’t ensure the success of their festival; they ensured that their festival would be all about Chappelle.

In 2014, the marquee isn’t as top heavy as it was in 2013 and there are several solid comedians on the undercard, so to speak, that will definitely make arriving on time worthwhile.  Leading the list of funny people is Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Jim Gaffigan, Dave Attell, Demetri Martin, and Jeff Ross.

There are also a few comedians you may have seen on television but didn’t know they did stand-up: Chris D’Elia, Brett Morin, Chris Hardwick, Whitney Cummings, and Aziz Ansari (he plays “Tom Haverford” on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation). 

Then there are comedians whose acts might be unfamiliar to novice fans but are still sidesplittingly waggish: Marc Maron, Reggie Watts, Moshe Kasher, Michael Che, and Hannibal Buress.  Reviewers love Buress’ act and often pick his set as the night’s best.

Unfortunately, not every comic will make every show.  To know which funny people will crack wise when the festival comes to your town check out their Web site. 

For example, Sarah Silverman will appear at the Aug. 31 Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival in Tinley Park (Chicago) but C.K. Louis will not. 

Aziz Ansari is booked for the Sept. 7 Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado but not Jim Gaffigan.  However, you’ll be able to catch Jim Gaffigan at the Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival in Irvine, California.

Doors to the Oddball Festival open at 5pm.  The secondary “festival stage” is hosted by Brody Stevens and will feature performances by local comics.  Take this any way you want to, but the official Web site says you’ll never know who will show up.  At 7pm, comics begin telling jokes on the main stage.  Organizers warn that the comedy will cease at exactly 11pm.

That’s the “oddball comedy” part but what about the “curiosity” part?  Well, that’s fulfilled by the Cut Throat Freak Show.  Based in Oklahoma City, this quartet of freaks performs a variety of unusual acts including fire breathing, glass eating, hammering nails into one’s nasal cavity, sword swallowing, and balloon sculpting.  

Of course, the biggest freak at the 2nd Annual Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival is the no camera and no cellphone policy.  Organizers don’t want you to bring a camera to the festival or whip out your cell phone while you’re there. 

Apparently, there’s a huge black market for pictures of Dave Atell telling jokes.  Bands like Phish allow you to record their concerts but the Oddball Comedy Festival doesn’t want you taking snaps of Bill Burr?  I don’t get it but it’s their festival so it’s their rules.

Don’t worry about getting a bite to eat before or after the chortles.  Food and beverage vendors will be on hand to serve you tasty victuals and refreshing libations.  

To prepare you for the coming jocularity, Clickitticket has put together a brief rundown of some of the comics you’ll enjoy when attending the 2014 Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival.

Louis C.K.
"Does this fat make me look fat?" 

One of his generation’s top stand-ups, Louis C.K. is best known for his FX series Louis.  He’s been nominated for more than two dozen Emmy Awards and revolutionized the comedy business with free concerts download and direct-to-fan ticket sales.

Sarah Silverman
“I need more rape jokes.”

Sarah Silverman answers the age old question of what would a comic be like if you combined Heidi with Red Foxx and Jason Schwartzman.  Silverman had a cup of coffee on Saturday Night Live and her own show on Comedy Central.

Aziz Ansari
“Oh my god 50 Cent has no idea what a grapefruit is!”

If you want to check out Aziz Ansari just go to Netflix.  There you’ll find three of his stand-up specials: Buried Alive, Dangerously Delicious, and Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening.  Buried Alive is a Netflix original.

Amy Schumer
“People always assume that I’m shallow because I’m really pretty.”

Amy Schumer is the host of her own sketch comedy show on Comedy Central, Inside Amy Schumer.  The show has entertained guest appearances from Josh Charles, Paul Giamatti, Patrick Warburton, and Christine Teigen.

Jim Gaffigan
“You always hear that swimming is the best exercise but have you seen how fat whales are?”

If you’ve never heard of Jim Gaffigan just go to YouTube and look for his “Hot Pockets” bit.  It will leave you rolling on the floor laughing.  The pallid comedian generally cracks jokes about food and his own laziness.  In 2010, Gaffigan performed a couple of shows in Israel. 

Dave Attell
“Want to get rid of the white trash in America have a free Toby Keith concert on a casino riverboat and the boat will sink from the weight of their mullets.”

We wanted to mention Dave Attell because he’s one of comedy’s most under-appreciated and overlooked comics.  He earned a huge cult following thanks to his show Insomniac with Dave Attell that aired on Comedy Central from August 2001 to November 2004.

Jeff Ross
“I lost to Cloris Leachman.”

Jeff Ross is probably the world’s greatest roast host.  In fact, he’s been dubbed “The Roastmaster General.” He was also the first stand-up comic to ever appear on Dancing With The Stars. Ross and his partner were the first couple eliminated from the show. 

Marc Maron
“From here on out it's all going to be thinky pain.”

Marc Maron has a degree in English literature which probably explains why he’s such a great storyteller.  He also co-hosted his own national morning drive radio show.  Recently, Marc Maron dated Moon Zappa, the eldest child of Frank Zappa.

Chris Hardwick
“If I wear a Captain Picard shirt it's because I want some motherf***er to 'make it so'.”

Chris Hardwick is a prolific voice actor and television host.  He’s so good at those jobs people sometimes forget he’s also a very funny stand-up comic.  Hardwick used to be roommates with Wil Wheaton.

Brent Morin and Chris D’Elia
“My heart was sweating... like you're in high school and you call your teacher 'mom' for no reason.” - Morin
“Rap is the only music where you can go 'yeah' in the middle of your job.” - D'Elia

Brent Morin and Chris D’Elia are both participating in the Oddball Comedy Festival and both star on the NBC sitcom Undateable.  Don’t worry, no one else has ever heard of that show either.  In fact, Morin and D’Elia haven’t even heard of it.  Speaking of bad sitcoms, D’Elia played Whitney Cummings’ boyfriend in the NBC sitcom Whitney.  Cummings appeared at few Oddball Comedy Festivals earlier this year.

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Florida State Poised For The College Football Playoff

by Noiz 11. August 2014 12:24

Florida State Poised For The College Football Playoff

The good news about the 2014 college football season is it will end with a playoff.  For the first time ever, four teams will compete for the national championship.  This year the semifinal games are scheduled for Jan. 1, 2015 and will be hosted by the Rose and Sugar Bowls.  The national championship game is set for Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (home of the Dallas Cowboys).

The bad news about the 2014 college football season is it won’t end with the seemingly arbitrary selection of two teams to compete for the national championship.  Why is that bad?  Well, it gave college football fans something to complain about.  Maybe I like to groan too much, but I’m going to miss arguing over who should and shouldn’t compete in the title game.

That’s not to say there won’t be room for grousing.  A 13-person selection committee will determine the four teams in the playoffs as well as participants in the Cotton, Fiesta, and Peach Bowls.  The baker’s dozen of college pigskin pundits will meet for the first time on Oct. 27.  Their weekly “Top 25” will be announced on ESPN.

Selection Committee
Jeff Long (Chairman)
Barry Alvarez
Mike Gould
Pat Haden
Tom Jernstedt
Oliver Luck
Archie Manning
Tom Osborne
Dan Radakovich
Condoleezza Rice
Mike Tranghese
Steve Wieberg
Tyrone Willingham

Who will compete in the first ever College Football Playoff (yes, that’s its official name)?  One of the best things about this new format is there are no restrictions.  The four teams can come from one conference or they can all come from the mid-majors.  The committee has the freedom to select the best four programs in the nation without worrying about automatic bids.  With that being said, it’s highly likely, especially this season, that the four playoffs teams will come from the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC.

The Florida State Seminoles are your defending national champions.  They’d love to be the last team to win the BCS and the first team to win the College Football Playoff.  They could do it.  Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston returns, their offensive line is stacked with seniors, and their defense is super talented. 

Apart from the Seminoles, the ACC is fairly weak.  Last year, FSU went through the conference like a warm knife through melted butter.  They should do the same in 2015.   Their only serious challenger are the Clemson Tigers.  When Clemson is your only serious challenger you should feel really good about your chances.

Their weak schedule may hurt them come playoff time, when they face tougher opponents, but the Seminoles should comprise one-fourth of college football’s first final four.

Big Ten
The Big Ten has historically been the “Big Two,” Ohio State and Michigan.  However, for last couple of season you needed to add a “State” behind the word “Michigan.” 

The following is lost on just about everyone but their faithful: the Michigan State Spartans finished the 2014 season ranked third and would have participated in the national championship game had it not been for a road loss to Notre Dame.

Ohio State is an amazing 24-2 with Urban Meyer as head coach and they’re ranked sixth in the preseason Coaches Poll.  On paper, you pick the Ohio State Buckeyes to win the conference.  Of course, games aren’t played on paper. 

Michigan State has the “X” factor.  They’re not pretty but they’re winners.  Head coach Mark Dantonio is one of the best at getting the most out of his players.  The Spartans defense probably won’t be as good as it was last season, but its offense, which was very conservative, should be a bit more explosive.

Michigan State hosts Ohio State on Nov. 8.  The winner of that game might earn themselves a spot in the first ever College Football Playoff.

Big 12
The Oklahoma Sooners return 20 starters from a team that finished the 2014 college football calendar with a victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.  Those two factors garnered the program a preseason ranking of three.

The big game on the Sooners’ schedule is Nov. 8 against the Baylor Bears.  Sorry Texas Longhorns, but since your program has fallen to mediocre levels the Red River Showdown is no longer number one.  Not only that, but Baylor enters the season ranked tenth.

If Oklahoma can escape those two contests with victories, as well as their Nov. 15 tilt at Texas Tech, the Sooners could very well be one of the four participants in the first ever college football postseason.

The Oregon Ducks get back Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Marcus Mariota.  He’s one of eight returning starters from an offensive that was second in yards per game (565 yards) and points per game (45.5 points).  The Quack Attack enters the season ranked fourth.  They also possess one of the best home field advantages in the nation—Autzen Stadium is not kind to visitors.

The downside to picking the Ducks to make the College Football Playoff is the Pac-12 is stacked.  Entering the 2015 season, six Pac-12 teams are ranked inside the top 25: #4 Oregon, #7 UCLA, #11 Stanford, #15 USC, #18 Arizona State, and #25 Washington.  The Ducks have three of those teams on their schedule (UCLA, Washington, and Stanford) as well as Michigan State (Sept. 6).  On top of all that, the Civil War is at Oregon State.  The Ducks are definitely leaders of the Pac-12 but their road to the postseason isn’t an easy one.

If the Pac-12 is as good as advertise—if those six teams remain in the top 25—then the winner of the conference’s championship game (plotted for Dec. 5) will be playoff bound.

To attract viewers from outside of the south to the conference’s new television network, SEC teams must schedule at least one game against a competitor from another major conference.  This won’t do much to slow down college football’s best conference, but it will make for better TV than Alabama decimating Chattanooga 49-0. 

During the BCS era, the national championship game was basically the winner of the SEC versus the best team not in the SEC (as the second best team was usually from the SEC too).  Moving forward, the question isn’t will an SEC team make the College Football Playoff but how many? 

It’s doubtful the conference will fill out the bracket but sending two teams is not out of the realm of possibility.  Alabama and Auburn enter the season as not only the best in the SEC but two of the best teams in the nation.  And don’t forget about South Carolina, Georgia, and LSU.   Those teams are legitimate contenders to win the conference and make the playoffs. 

Ole Miss and Texas A&M are long shots but they begin the season ranked inside the top 25 and prove once again that the SEC is the nation’s preeminent college football league.

Any one, or any two, of those five aforementioned SEC teams could be playing in the Sugar Bowl and/or Rose Bowl.

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Eleven Dates That Saw The Release Of Two Great Albums

by Noiz 4. August 2014 12:51

Eleven Dates That Saw The Release Of Two Great Albums

Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden launched their joint tour of North America on July 19 in Las Vegas.  It will end Aug. 25 when Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails visit Los Angeles for a gig at the famed Hollywood Bowl.

Key dates that should pique fans’ interest include Aug. 8 when Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails visit Atlanta and the Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood; Aug. 17 when Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails perform in Dallas at the Gexa Energy Pavilion; and Aug. 21 when Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails descend on Chula Vista, California and the Sleep Train Amphitheatre.

At first glance, Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden seem to have little in common beyond being contemporaries, being awesome live, and being placed in the insanely broad category of “alternative music.”  But the grunge band and industrial outfit share a major milestone.  They each released their seminal album on March 8, 1994.  That’s right, both The Downward Spiral and Superunknown dropped on the same day!

In the recent history of popular music that’s a rare occurrence.  If there’s one thing the recording industry is good at it’s selling albums.  They are quite adroit at spreading out highly anticipated releases.  If two significant albums are to see the light of day on the same day it’s completely by accident.  Below, Clickitticket looks at ten more dates when at least two important albums were released.  These dates begin in the early 1970s and stretch all the way into our current decade.

Dec. 20, 1971
For the most part, our list focuses on studio releases not compilations, soundtracks, and live albums.  With that being said, our first entry is a date that saw the release of one of the biggest selling compilations and one of greatest live albums of all-time.  The Rolling Stones’ Hot Rocks 1964–1971 has sold more than 12 million copies and is the band’s bestselling release.  Also released on Dec. 20, 1971 is The Concert for Bangladesh by George Harrison and Friends.  This triple live album, which features Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and created the model for future charity albums/concerts.

March 8, 1974
On March 8, 1974, two legendary rock bands released their sophomore efforts, Aerosmith issued Get Your Wings and Queen put out Queen II.  Get Your Wings has since been certified 3x Platinum and features the classics “Same Old Song and Dance” and “Train Kept-A-Rollin’.”  Queen II didn’t achieve the same commercial success as Get Your Wings, but it is the first opus to contain elements of what would become the band’s famous sound.  Additionally, the album’s cover is that iconic image of Queen lit directly from above.  On Oct. 4, John Lennon and Rod Stewart each released a solo studio album, respectively Walls and Bridges and Smiler.  We ignored this coincidence because Rod the Mod’s offering is pretty bad. 

Jan. 5, 1979
The year in music began with a bang, at least a new wave bang, when Elvis Costello & The Attractions released Armed Forces and Joe Jackson released Look Sharp! on the fifth day of 1979.  Both albums were slobbered over by critics with Armed Forces doing better on the charts in both the UK (were each artist hails) and the U.S.  Armed Forces contains the popular tunes “Accidents Will Happen” and “Oliver’s Army.”  Meanwhile Look Sharp!’s track listing includes “Is She Really Going Out with Him,” “Got the Time,” and “Fools in Love.”  Anthrax covered “Got the Time” for their 1990 album Persistence of Time.

Oct. 29, 1982
Let’s stay in the genre of new wave but jump ahead to Oct. 29, 1982.  That day bankrupted more than one music fan as Adam Ant’s Friend or Foe, Culture Club’s Kissing to be Clever, INXS’ Shabooh Shoobah, The Fixx’s debut album Shuttered Room, and The Missing Person’s first studio opus Spring Session M all hit the streets.  While they’re not necessarily new wave acts, the following groups also released albums that day: The Plasmatics, Bauhaus, The Dammned, and Musical Youth (the album containing the song “Pass the Dutchie”).  That was a lot of music to buy for those with spiked hair and checkered Vans.

July 30, 1984
No, we’re not picking Metallica’s Ride the Lightning (which has sold more than six million copies) and The Bangles’ All Over the Place (which gave the world “Hero Takes a Fall” and “Going Down to Liverpool”).  Instead we picked another two albums released on the second to the last day of July 1984: Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime and Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade.  More copies of Ride the Lightning have been lost then have been sold of Double Nickels and Zen Arcade.  Even so, Double Nickels and Zen Arcade are consistently found on lists of the greatest albums of all-time.  The masterpieces have influenced numerous bands and greatly shaped the future of alternative music and its many subgenres.

March 21, 1989
On this day, two women solidified their place in music history and did so in opposite fashions.  Madonna release Like A Prayer.  Her fourth studio album contains the hit singles: “Like A Prayer,” “Express Yourself,” and “Cherish.”  It sold a lot of copies and received a lot of love from MTV but Like a Prayer did far more for Madge’s career then pad her bank account.  It established her as a true artist; Like a Prayer finally enamored critics to Madonna’s act.  Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time captured three Grammy Awards including Album of the Year.  While that’s great, Raitt never had a problem appeasing critics and winning awards.  Her problem was selling records. Well, Nick of Time, which the singer calls her “first sober album,” went on to sell more than five million copies.  The blues woman finally earned the commercial success that had hitherto eluded her career.

May 2, 1989
The record label worried that The Cure’s Disintegration wouldn’t sell.  The band was returning to its gothic/dark wave roots and the label felt the dreary sound would struggle at the cash register.  They were wrong.  Disintegration became The Cure’s bestselling studio effort.  It’s also on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”  The Stones Roses are a one-hit wonder.  Only their one hit isn’t a song but an entire album.  Their self-titled debut is arguably one of the best collections of music to ever see the light of day.  It was so influential that it resurrected British guitar music.  Amazingly, both of those extraordinary albums hit record store shelves on May 2, 1989.

Aug. 30, 1994
If you want to know a lot about popular music in 1990s just make a time machine and go back to Aug. 30, 1994.  On that day, two of the decade’s most successful and important albums were released, II by Boyz II Men and Definitely Maybe by Oasis.  II has sold more than 12 million copies in the U.S. and stars the singles “I’ll Make Love To You” and “On Bended Knee.”  “On Bended Knee” knocked “I’ll Make Love To You” off of the top of the Billboard Hot 100.  That made Boyz II Men the third artist to ever replace themselves at number one (the other two being Elvis Presley and The Beatles).  Oasis’ Definitely Maybe was the fasting selling debut album in the UK.  It eventually sold more than eight million copies.  In 2006, a poll by NME magazine named the highly acclaimed oeuvre as the greatest album of all-time.  That praise is definitely maybe a little too generous, but what isn’t up for debate is Definitely Maybe is a seminal Brit Pop album.

May 25, 2005
May 25, 2005 saw the publication of two very different albums: Get Behind Me Satan by The White Stripes and Monkey Business by The Black Eyed Peas.  Get Behind Me Satan heard The White Stripes exploring uncharted musical territory and doing it with aplomb.  The work was widely heralded as one of the best albums of the year.  Conversely, Monkey Business sold more than 10 million units but contained the ubiquitous and vapid “Pump It,” "Don't Phunk with My Heart,” and “My Humps.”  On one day in May, we got an album that epitomizes what we want popular music to sound like—Get Behind Me Satan—and an album that unfortunately epitomizes what pop music actually sounds like—Monkey Business.

Nov. 22, 2010
Kanye West released his musically diverse My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on Nov. 22, 2010.  Critics tripped over themselves lauding West’s fifth studio corpus.  Pundits loved the record so much that when it wasn’t nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year they screamed bloody murder.  The LP made just about every end-of-the-year “best of” list.  Also released on Nov. 22, 2010 was Nicki Minaj’s debut studio album Pink Friday.  It debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 (behind My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy).  Pink Friday’s first week of sales was the second highest ever for a female hip hop artist (second only to Lauryn Hill).  The production also set a record for most weeks in the top ten by a female rapper.  Clearly, Nov. 22, 2010 was a big day for hip hop.

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